Mike Corbat now entangled in banking Catch-22

April 15, 2016

The Citigroup boss aced both the living will and stress tests. He also has fashioned an efficient operation, evidenced by Q1 results. To improve on a 6.4 pct return on equity, though, will require exhausting tax breaks. And to do that depends on finding more elusive profit.

Too-big-to-fail cabal nursing $130 bln in damages

January 15, 2016

That’s the amount of market value swiped from the top six U.S. banks in the past two weeks. All but Wells Fargo now trade below book value. It’s not a reaction to lackluster fourth-quarter results, but a sign investors expect a year of pain. Whether they’re right is a toss-up.

Citigroup may finally deserve more investor love

October 15, 2015

The $150 bln mega-bank weathered choppy third-quarter markets better than some. Sure, its $4.3 bln profit only provided an 8 pct annualized return on equity, but that’s an industry problem. Citi is the only big U.S. bank trading below its tangible book value. That’s unjustified.

GE offers Citi starting point for fixing CEO pay

April 20, 2012

Investors voted against Vikram Pandit’s comp largely due to his wooly incentive plan. Facing similar discontent last year, GE added decent hurdles to better align boss Jeff Immelt’s pay to the conglomerate’s performance and shareholder returns. Citi should go a step further.

China’s “guanxi” system may cost Wall Street dear

September 6, 2012

Citi, Goldman and UBS have benefited from the “do a favour, get a favour” principle. All bailed out troubled Chinese firms, and got special perks later. Rivals have not been so lucky. Yet problems facing China’s banks could mean more special treatment is required in future.

Santander can teach Citi the art of breaking up

By Rob Cox
September 10, 2012

The notion of a Spanish bank instructing the rest of the world on anything may sound, well, loco at present. But Santander’s methodical IPOs of operating units, the latest due in Mexico, present a reasonable model for an undervalued colossus like Citi to consider.

Pandit succumbs to “three strikes you’re out” rule

By Rob Cox
October 16, 2012

A trio of failures, not all of his making - pay, dividends and Smith Barney - lost him the confidence of shareholders, regulators and the board. It was time to go. Mike Corbat is solid. But radical change like a value-enhancing breakup would be a more surprising move for Citi.

Help Vikram Pandit rename Citi’s subprime lender

June 2, 2010

Help Vikram Pandit rename Citi's subprime lender

Pandit gone but not forgotten at Citigroup

By Rob Cox
October 11, 2013

It has been a year since Chairman Mike O’Neill made a mockery of governance by displacing CEO Vikram Pandit with Mike Corbat. The new boss sped up cost cuts and clarified some strategic targets. But Citi is still broadly following Pandit’s plan, and it is serving shareholders well.

Corbat’s Citi takes a step backward

October 15, 2013

The mega-bank’s CEO ends his first year in charge with a Q3 earnings miss and a 6.4 pct return on equity. Markets were hardly amenable over the summer. But lower costs, a lower tax rate and a near breakeven at Citi Holdings should have helped more. Corbat must show it’s a one-off.